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'A lot of things happening' at Shirley festival

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SHIRLEY — As with most outdoor events happening in the Hoosier state during May, all Shirley’s second annual Strawberry Festival needs on Saturday is a little help from Mother Nature.

Following a successful return last year after a 15-year absence, the festival will bring food, fun, entertainment and crafts for a daylong family event in eastern Hancock County.

“Everything has come together really well,” said Whitney Thompkins, Shirley Visionary Group chairwoman. “The museum will be open; the Octagon House will be open, and we have a lot of things happening.”

Shirley Historical Society President Jerry Duke said work has been completed on the new floor at the Shirley Depot Museum, and artifacts and exhibits removed to storage in 2011 will be returned to their rightful places within the next few weeks.

The festival will close Railroad Street from Meridian to Main streets from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with music and entertainment on the “Front Porch” stage beginning at 2 p.m.

“We’ve got a full day of entertainment, which is a bit different from last year,” Duke said.

The vendor and booth count remains at about last year’s level of 30 with a variety of foods from barbecue to coney dogs and bakery treats, crafts, artisan wares and other goods.

The festival has expanded the Family Fun Zone, which will open at 3 p.m. and offer a variety of kid- and family-friendly contests from sack races to tug-of-war, Thompkins said.

Organizers held their final pre-festival planning meeting Tuesday to find the pieces set and ready for Saturday.

In its prime, the festival spanned nearly a decade; however, dwindling volunteer and financial support mothballed the event until last year when the Shirley Visionary Group resurrected it as a means to promote the town and its businesses.

Linda Westrich of the Shirley Hardware store said local businesses, churches and civic organizations in town have jumped on board to support and participate in the festival.

Sponsors for this year’s festival include Adkins Electric, Red Fusion Graphics and Wilkinson Church of Christ and Kid’s Kingdom Preschool.

“I think everyone is excited about it,” Westrich said. “Now, we only hope it doesn’t rain.”



What: Second annual Shirley Strawberry Festival

Where: Meridian and Main streets, Shirley

Festival schedule

10 a.m.: National Anthem and opening ceremonies; vendor areas open.

Noon: K-9 Demonstration by Bryan Pryor; Pedal Tractor Pull registration begins.

1:30 p.m.: Pedal Tractor Pull

2 p.m.: Cornfield Cloggers

3 p.m.: Family Fun Zone opens; entertainment by Two Rig Pony on the Front Porch

4 p.m.: Entertainment by the Dodrell Family on the Front Porch

5 p.m.: Entertainment by Larry Von Essen on the Front Porch

8 p.m.: Festival closes

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